Síle Englert is a poet, fiction writer and visual artist from London, Ontario. Her stories have been included in the shortlist for Room Magazine’s fiction contest and longlisted in Prism International. Síle’s poetry has placed second in Contemporary Verse 2’s 2-Day Poem Contest and has been featured in journals such as Room Magazine, Ascent Aspirations Anthology, Misunderstandings Magazine, the Saving Bannister Anthology and Crannóg Magazine (Ireland).
The Busker *
I am in the brushed silver of your eyes. Perhaps I am every shade of grey; my hair between the sidewalk, the buildings and the sky. I see with the soles of my feet and the colour in my hands. Every crack and fissure every ninety-degree angle, the carpet of cigarette butts and business-lunch, fast-food, coffee-break litter.
These are my sounds: the stubborn clomp of your boots and the click of your heels. Mine. Metallic jingle-clank goes your parking meter coins slap the worn red velvet where my music sleeps. My music. Flowing. My billowing symphony around the buses and cars. This is my music. My tin thin plastic notes that could be any time at all but here. You are as grey as my eyes.
Keep walking. I can hear you; your voice is fish hooks and fireworks, rusted metal words you ricochet between the buildings that are twisted fingers grey in the daylight.
White and black and white again my fingers move half-frozen crawling with the tingle burn of November. But music slithers somehow always out from under them. November knows, the air knows: no holes in your smart business shoes, your handmade knitted mittens, your leather gloves. The breathy heave and button click will tug at your hand. Drop the coin you were warming in your palm for the bus. You can fish out another.
You might never feel your way home in the dark where the music ends, Past the unforgiving shelter of an alley awning where the woman whose toothless smile won’t stop speaking. Or the corner broken hooker who keeps asking for my coat.
This is the end of it. Every sunset counted away with the small sound of money scraped from red velvet. I put the music away.
* this piece originally appeared in Ascent Aspirations' Anthology Seven
rags still half-soaked with turpentine and resignation
petal the floor beside an antique dresser or
perhaps contentious puddle of cooking oil
dripping slowly down from the white stove
your cat interrupting a candle
the cigarette that slept in my mouth
handfuls of scrubby wires left humming in the walls
ash on the floor in a halo of char and shreds of tobacco
crunched under bare feet; we run from red
in the walls, grab the photo albums or your cat
flame eats the pile of newspapers that bundled our dishes
and floral wallpaper weeping with age
we waltz with its powdered wig of smoke
as one vinyl record pours blackly to the floor
the fire is white bright and gilt rococo swirls
iii. poisoned pawn
the heat and its black venom cloud reach our aquarium
milky belly of the last little neon protruding
in a languid bob from warm water
an angry, strangled sound from the cat
bewildered by all of the death
things burst they shiver and snap
I reach for my jacket, slow fumble with shoelaces
choose instead the hasty exit, hand to door
dusty carpets, dry wood sacrificed to a rush of oxygen
this beast pulls itself from the air
seizing my blunder
if not the hall, then what?
tie the sheets together
a desperate flailing trapeze act from
the fourth storey window or else
breathless relish in a small protected square
sententious fire waves its truth at my eyes and ears
speaks sparsely with pop and crack
hiss and flicker, pointed licks of flame
sweep through rank and file until
it finds me at D8 and captures the door
so red has won
but where are you
and where is the cat
** this piece originally appeared in Contemporary Verse 2 [Volume 36, Issue 2] as their 2-Day Poem Contest second-place winner
What The River Thinks
watch the arms of an umbrella stripped skeletal
tortured fingers beaten slow to rusted submission
because they once kept out the rain
catching on slate or half-buried
under rotten, sliming leaves until we both bump
splash like tongues against the toothy edge
where sodden guilt and humus
make their bed
I hold this form by rote, hooked turn
and petulant rapids follow the map-lines
too quick to quibble over smallish things
the argument between a pebble and errant leaf
my courses unaltered by discarded things
urging toward the refuge of pattern, compulsive
with each liquid cymbal crash
this is where I drag an umbrella over rocks and weeks,
wind around myself one last time, grow taut
unspent energy cascading in millions of shatter-tears
over sudden void, throwing mad light
and drowning the steely arms in rainbows
until they break
where I pool
at the end.